5 NW women represented Keller Rohrback at the Mt Hood Cycling Classic. Even with our small team and the attention primarily on our competition including Peanut Butter and Co led by Kristen Armstrong, and Pactimo led by Clara Hughes, we still got quite a bit of coverage on VeloNews. In fact, we were mentioned and photographed in every stage!
Prologue: Kristen Armstrong for the win & Clara Hughes came in 8 sec back. Rhae Shaw took 4th, 1 sec off the podium (ARG!!) and VeloNews made sure to get a shot of her pain face. Tricia started in front of Clara and Kristen and had to endure being passed in a 3 mi prologue, but still pulled off 9th!!. As consolation, she got a VeloNews photo to show for it. Jessica Cutler, Cathy Varland and Rosalyn Rombauer all came in top half, which was pretty impressive considering they were soaking up their first bigger regional race including a full team of professionals.
In the 1st road race, Rhae Shaw had a an amazing day that ended by her chasing down Kristen A, Clara H and Kristen M for the finish. Seriously, who closes to two olympians with only a bit of help from Jade Wilcoxson? Rhae. Her effort gets noted in VeloNews!! Alison Starnes was further up the road, and Rhae ended up 4th for the day. The rest of us took some extra time to enjoy the sun and Jessica and Tricia decided to also get in a bit more TT practice by riding the majority of the long loop alone. Ok, maybe we didn’t hydrate enough and a whopping 80 deg race day was an unfortunate shock to our systems that pretty much took us out of the running for GC. After laying in the shade for a while, we packed it up and went back to the townhouse for a great dinner thanks to Ros and did our best to recover for the TT and Crit on Saturday.
Saturday – Another great day of 4th places. Rhae Shaw had a killer TT and got VeloNews mention and VeloNews photo, but was foiled again by the olympians/world champions. It was the first time Rhae has ever been passed in a TT when Kristen Armstrong passed her at the finish with Kristen’s support car blasting GO! GO! GO! over the loud speaker. It made us cringe just on the side lines, and maybe it made Kristen cringe a little too because Clara took back the time she lost in the prologue for the win. I can’t imagine what it would be like having a screaming car come up behind, but Rhae is getting used to being with (and becoming one of) the top pros. Tricia Bailey got 10th, Cathy Varland, Jessica and Roslyn again came in top half in the TT. We all celebrated our successful finish of the flatish, but twisty turny course and vowed to make sure we at least drive all TT courses in the future, if not pre-ride them.
The Crit: Rhae did a great job staying patient and safe with the race leaders in the pack and Cathy stayed close taking it all in. Jessica Cutler touched pavement in the 2nd lap, hopped back in and finished strong, but later found out her derailure hanger was broken (a bad discovery on a Saturday night). Roslyn’s boyfriend crashed in the TT earlier in the day avoiding a car, then ended up crashing again in the Crit avoiding a bike and railing, but not a curb. Not such a good day for him and Ros abandoned to accompany him to the hospital. He is going to be just fine. Tricia jumped to a break (see VeloNews!) in the 2nd lap took 3 primes then lapped the field in a break of 5, but making sure to represent our full coverage of 4th place…check. The VeloNews photo of the break is from behind – so you are just going to have to find it yourself.
With the loss of Jess and Ros, our team was down to 3 going into the last day and at the start. It was apparent that other teams had also taken a hit. The smaller field started out with PB& Co up front managing things as expected. Eventually, Tricia moved to the front to re-position Rhae where she belonged – in good position when the climbing started! Rhae got to chat with Kristen Armstrong a bit, and Tricia soaked up the moment with Alison Starnes to her left in the yellow jersey, Clara Hughes to her right, and Kristen Armstrong on the far right. There just aren’t too many sports and too many moments where you get to be side by side with some of the greatest in your sport. During the changing of the PB&Co guard between their descending leaders and their climbing leaders, Tricia went in a two woman break with Molly from MetroMint! Hello twitter and Velonews coverage! The break got to 2:40 and lasted for about 20 miles before Alisha Welsh from PB&Co decided it was time to bring it back combined with Clara Hughes on the descent. Rhae pulled off another solo chase (really, she does like riding with other people, but they seem to come off her wheel) and ended up 4th (of course!) on the stage.
Rhae ended up being 4th GC, which is an amazing accomplishment considering the full team of capable PB&Co in attendance. I assure you, they were planning on taking all of the top GC spots with only Clara to join them. Tricia finished with a group and Cathy finished strong, but joked that a few more cougar repeats are just not going to do the trick to race at this level!